In the Brussels municipality of Ganshoren, an 18-year-old girl fell victim to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning on Saturday. She had to be resuscitated and was transferred to hospital in critical condition, where she died a few hours later.
The girl's mother and younger brother were also taken to hospital, but were not in such bad shape. The cause of the CO intoxication is most likely the gas system in the building.
"At around 16:30, the emergency services received a call for a young woman who had fallen unconscious in the bathroom of a flat, on Avenue des Gloires Nationales in Ganshoren," said Brussels fire service spokesperson Walter Derieuw. "From the questioning, the 112 operator could tell that it was a case of CO intoxication. The necessary medical resources were therefore immediately sent there."
- 60-year-old man hospitalised after carbon monoxide poisoning in Ixelles
- Fire, carbon monoxide and higher bills: Reasons to clean your chimney
The affected family lived on the ground floor. The residents of the flat on the first floor were also taken to hospital for check-ups, and the residents of higher-level flats were examined at the scene.
Sibelga, Brussels' system operator for the distribution of natural gas and electricity, shut down the gas installation in the building, as that was probably the cause of the intoxication. "What exactly went wrong still needs further investigation. The residents are being looked after by the municipality of Ganshoren and the Brussels-West police."
How to prevent CO poisoning
To prevent CO poisoning, the fire services urged people to have a compliant appliance installed by a licensed technician, and not to overlook annual maintenance and mandatory checks.
The exhaust of combustion gases should be checked regularly, and the house should be ventilated: to ensure natural ventilation and the supply of fresh air. Install homologated CO detectors.
In case of symptoms of a CO intoxication (such as nausea, vomiting, headache or sudden fatigue) react quickly without endangering yourself: open the windows, evacuate the persons present and request assistance from the 112 emergency centre, via the 112.be application or by phone.